Wednesday, January 27, 2016
      ( 11:27 AM ) posted by Setsuled  

Ships may sink, spouses may die, but there'll always be Britain. And that's more than a small thing says 1942's In Which We Serve, a rather effective propaganda film from team Noel Coward and David Lean--but mostly Noel Coward as the opening credits make clear, telling us it's a Noel Coward film, written by Noel Coward, starring Noel Coward, and with music by Noel Coward. Lean's presence is certainly felt, though, and for all its obvious manipulation this film has real heart.

"This is the story of a ship!" we're informed first thing by the narrator and then we watch some fascinating actual footage of a British warship being assembled: molten rivets pounded into place as they cool, bulkheads lowered by crane.

The story follows the crew and families of the crew of the HMS Torrin and very early on we see her being sunk in the Mediterranean. As the crew cling to the life raft, the story is told through flashbacks marked by watery dissolves.

Coward plays the captain, of course, named Kinross. It's a decent but not great performance. Coward talks fast and seems self assured but there's not much life in it; he's easily overshadowed by his wife, Alix, played by Celia Johnson.

Here the two relax while he's on leave and their children idly speculate on the kinds of planes dogfighting overhead. The message is clear--don't worry so much about imminent peril. What if you do get killed? It's all for Britain, after all! Don't be like young Richard Attenborough, who appears in his first (uncredited) screen role as a crewman who flees his post in the heat of battle.

But even he has a chance to redeem himself. Other standouts in the crew are John Mills and Michael Wilding and everyone comes across as impressively earnest and innocent. I imagine it did quite a lot for audiences at the time putting such faces on the lads at sea. I certainly came away feeling they deserve our support.

#





writing:
Anelnoath
Venia's Travels
Boschen and Nesuko

links:
News
The Agonist
Crooks and Liars
The Guardian
The Japan Times
National Public Radio
The New York Times
The Onion

Blogs
Poppy Z Brite
Dame Darcy's Journal
Neil Gaiman
Caitlin R Kiernan
M'isa's Journal

Art and Entertainment
Tori Amos
David Bowie
The Cure
William Gibson
Martin Johnson
Karlsweb
Leia's Metal Bikini
Nebari.Net
Peanuts
Rasputina
Remotely Lame
Roger Ebert
Scott McCloud

Reference
Dictionary
Moviefone
Norse Mythology
Jeff Russell's Starship Dimensions (everyone needs this)
Tarot readings at Trusted Tarot.
World Clock(it's nifty!)

e-mail: setsuled@yahoo.com

Presenting Setsuled's blog . . .

Powered by Blogger